Skip to main content

This blog was written by Dana Dumpangol and Azyani Mursidi, Youth Environment Living Labs (YELL) interns.

Ingin membaca blog ini dalam Bahasa Malaysia? Klik pautan Bahagian 1: Usahawan Belia Memacu Perubahan!

Let’s get inspired by reading about Therapy Lab, our pioneer in candle-making!
From Kitchen to Candlelight
Navigating the trials of candle-making
The Scent of Success

From Kitchen to Candlelight

“Spread awareness among the community sebab di Alor Setar, based on our observation masih ramai yang buang minyak masak ke dalam longkang dan through sinki

Aneira (24) on what encourages them to create Therapy Lab. (1)

One household waste that often goes unnoticed is used cooking oil but is often disposed of in a way that harms the environment – directly into drains. It’s a problem that the three young entrepreneurs, Athirah (23), Aneira (24), and Rihhadatul’aisy (23) behind Therapy Lab in Alor Setar noticed and decided to tackle. Their solution to address this issue was to transform this waste into something both useful and beautiful: scented candles.

Figure 1: Therapy Lab’s multiple scented candles

©Therapy Lab

Athirah mentioned that the water quality of Sungai Kedah is poor and is not suitable for body contact or drinking. While the disposal of cooking oil waste into the river may not be the main culprit but it may contribute to the pollution. 

Through their project, the team buys used cooking oil for around RM4/kilogram from three consistent suppliers in the area, as well as students and even lecturers at their university, Albukhary International University, near Taman PKNK, Bandar Alor Setar. In eight months, 160kg of used cooking oil was collected and processed into different-sized scented candles which they sold. From the sales, they successfully generated about RM3,000 in profit.

Figure 2: Collecting used cooking oil from a supplier
©Therapy Lab
Figure 3: Used cooking oil from keropok lekor1
©Therapy Lab

Navigating the trials of candle-making

“Dari segi production, kita baru start dan demand is quite high, tapi kita orang tidak mampu untuk produce alot sebab kita masih belajar.”

Athirah (23) on their challenges with production (2)

The team faces the ongoing challenge of meeting the growing demand for their candles while juggling their studies. On the technical side of things, they’ve discovered that the choice of wax, one of the other ingredients, is crucial in creating candles of good quality. As Aneira noted, “Kadang ada supplier yang tak boleh supply kualiti yang ngam2(3).  Finding the right quality of wax and ensuring a consistent supply has proven to be quite a challenge. Producing quality candles and fulfilling demands is a trial and error process as some elements needed may not be consistent for each batch – from the shortage of candle jars to the quality of dyes used thus affecting the design.  

Their biggest hurdle, however, remains the shortage of hands to help with production. They recognize the need to expand their team and plan to conduct workshops for students – teaching students the art of candle-making while also employing some helping hands in the process. Each student is paid RM20 for every three hours they are helping out Therapy Lab.

“Kita nak expand our social business and increase the beneficiaries”

Athirah (23) on her hopes for their social enterprise (4)

Looking ahead, Athirah shared her hopes and aspirations for the future of their candle-making venture. She expressed their desire to market their candles, especially dessert candles, to countries like Europe, where there is genuine interest in this unique product. Their goal is to expand their social business and provide employment or side income opportunities to single mothers and beneficiaries from low-income households.

Athirah also shares her heartfelt wish for the future: I wish for one day kalau boleh, setiap isi rumah tahu how to dispose of cooking oil dengan betul and tahu that cooking oil ni boleh recycle. So instead of buang, diorang boleh generate income from this cooking oil.(5) This would allow people to transform what was once discarded into a source of income. It’s a vision of sustainable living and empowerment, where their candle-making process sparks positive changes in the community.

The Scent of Success

Stay tuned for more updates on their Instagram page, @therapylab_ or access their Linktree to follow their journey towards success, making a difference one candle at a time!

Thank you to Therapy Lab for providing their perspective on their project!

Left to right: Nur Athirah Binti Zul Fikar Ali, Nur Rihhadatul’aisy binti Jasmi and Nur Aneira Safiah Binti Azam

©Therapy Lab

Check out Part 2: Young Entrepreneurs Driving Change to read more on inspiring local solutions!

Social Entrepreneurship Rural Youth (SERY) Programme: 

SERY is a six-month start-up programme led by the Ministry of Youth and Sports that supports young people in rural communities in social entrepreneurship as a means of livelihood and community development. Through this programme, YELL partnered to seed-fund the project ideas that ranged from combatting wastage, preserving their land and educating their communities on sustainable practices.


  • 1 Keropok lekor: A traditional Malay fish cracker snack originating from the state of Terengganu, Malaysia
  • 2Ngam: Suitable

Quotes (in English)

  • (1) “Spread awareness among the community because in Alor Setar, based on our observation there are still many who throw cooking oil down the drain and through the sink” – Aneira
  • (2) “In terms of production, we have just started and demand is quite high, but we are not able to produce a lot because we are still studying” – Athirah
  • (3) “Sometimes there are suppliers who cannot supply a suitable quality” – Aneira
  • (4) “We want to expand our social business and increase the beneficiaries” – Athirah
  • (5) “I wish for one day if possible, every household knows how to dispose of cooking oil correctly and knows that cooking oil can be recycled. So instead of throwing it away, people can generate income from this cooking oil.” – Athirah

Leave a Reply